OGP Australia logo

Civic participation

Civic participation iconBetter decisions are often made when lots of different views are heard, and when the ideas and skills of people are taken into account. We can better identify problems, and come up with more creative solutions. The community is also more likely to agree with changes when they’ve had a chance to influence them. Civic participation is about making sure people have the understanding and the chance to have a say in decisions that affect them.

As part of our first Open Government National Action Plan, we developed a new government framework that helps make sure that people are heard as government makes decisions or delivers services. The framework provides for a range of forms of participation from which public servants can choose and adapt, based on the nature of each issue. We also built new ways for people to have their say in how the Open Government Partnership itself works.

Some ideas about what government could now do as part of the second National Action Plan include:

  • developing ways to better understand how people feel about government and the services it provides
  • providing new opportunities for the public to give government decision-makers feedback on how government policies and services are working, identify problems in our community, and develop solutions
  • building awareness and skills among public servants so they can better understand the community’s opinions and tap into their expertise
  • making a new framework so that Australian states and territories can directly participate in the Open Government Partnership.

Further reading

Discussion questions

  • Is this theme relevant both to the Open Government Partnership and Australia’s local context?
  • Are the possible commitments effective, relevant and ambitious?
  • Are there other possible commitments related to this theme that we should consider adopting?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 30 March.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in April, the Forum will be asked to assess those ideas with substantial support, and make recommendations to government on prospective themes and commitments. When government releases its draft National Action Plan for public comments in June, it will also provide a response to ideas.

Submissions and comments received via email

Open Government...

We look forward to receiving your comments and ideas! Just register for an account and leave a comment below.

0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The Canberra consultations were held on 14 March and were attended by 11 participants from both civil society and government. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to civic participation included:

  • support for all of the ideas contained in the discussion starter, noting that many of the ideas needed to be fleshed out in more detail
  • the importance of consultations informing final decision making
  • the need in any consultation process to ensure robust non-digital opportunities for participation
  • the importance of education in civics and information literacy so that people can understand how government decision-making works

civic participation

civic participation

Participants in these consultations also wanted Open Government National Action Plan ideas from other countries and unprogressed ideas from consultations for the first National Action Plan published. These include:

Open and participatory budgeting (NAP1, US, Canada, New Zealand)
Establish a process of participatory budgeting for certain Australian Governments grants and the Australian Government budget, including through:

  • providing greater detail in budget papers, and
  • instituting processes for the public to discuss and help identify community priorities and prospective savings, and provide feedback on budget decisions.

Direct democracy (NAP1)
Strengthen direct democracy by introducing:

  • a capability for citizens to introduce legislation into parliament, and
  • community Estimates-style sessions with parliamentarians.

A fuller list of these ideas can be found in the papers for item 6 for the meeting of the Open Government Forum of 7 December.

0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The Perth consultations were held on 16 March and were attended by 9 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to civic participation included:

  • the desirability of ensuring that consultations with citizens are comprehensive and ongoing, descriptively representative, deliberative, and influential, so as to give communities a sense of ownership of their own issues and solutions.
  • the desirability of instituting a high-profile public participation process to build momentum and demonstrate the effectiveness of such a process.
  • the need to reconsider the frameworks governing public servants to allow them to better tailor place-based approaches and make decisions with regards to a community’s specific needs, unencumbered by national bureaucracies
0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The Melbourne consultations were held on 20 March and were attended by 18 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to civic participation included:

  • greater community engagement in public decision-making, tailored to the issue, and taking into account the specific needs and capacities of communities being consulted, including Indigenous Australians and those in remote communities
  • concern about foreign interference bills, and the chilling effects on public participation by civil society organisations

0
Vote up!

Cameron Shorter

Hi, a number of us from open source software and civil communities are drafting a response on the effectiveness of collaboration. It starts:

While Australia has made progress toward its open government objectives, we could achieve much more if we improved our approach to collaboration.
Government bodies are continually duplicating effort. Why? Old acquisition processes have emphasised "value for money" and "mitigation of risk". However, in the digital economy, success indicators additionally include “effectiveness of collaboration”, “sustainability in the face of rapid innovation” and “resilience to monopolistic behaviours”. We need to consider these new indicators in future purchasing guidelines.

Comments on our draft are welcomed (you will need to reach out to me at cameron dot shorter AT gmail.COM for access and to see other review comments). The final will be submitted on 30 March 2018.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jNdh4_A_cIpaHqLRFOgpvAY3JSo0Ueraam39...

0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The Sydney consultations were held on 21 March and were attended by 16 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to civic participation included:

  • an online tool to monitor perceptions of trust in all levels of government, and to assist in diagnosing issues and developing government responses
  • institution of an open budgeting process that facilitates citizen participation in government budgeting decisions, greater transparency of budgets, and enhanced parliamentary oversight

0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The Brisbane consultations were held on 23 March and were attended by 10 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to civic participation included:

  • development of an engagement framework for public agencies, and a commitment to a minimum level of public consultation
  • the importance of better training public servants to engage with communities, especially marginalised communities
0
Vote up!

Colleen Lewis

The Open Government Partnership (OPG) is an important initiative of the Australian Government and its willingness to participate in such an important partnership is to be congratulated. Despite this positive step there is still much to be done to demonstrate that it is and is intended to be a meaningful partnership between government and civil society. I say this because at the moment the engagement to date with civil society is primarily with what could be described as a small group of politically informed citizens and organisations. In other words with people and organisations that are already well-known to government. Regrettably, there has been very little attempt to communicate with civil society more broadly. This means that very few people would know of the existence of the OGP or the website through which it conducts its outreach to the community. Meetings are held in Canberra and when they are not there seems to be no attempt to inform broader civil society about the scheduling of public forums, rather dates and times are proscribed by government and the distribution of such information is extremely limited. The website is not easy to navigate which means it is not user friendly. I do not wish to seem overly critical as I support the OGP and the ideas that form its framework but there is much to be done if the OGP is to be effective. The trust deficit between government and civil society and members of parliament and civil society is very wide and there is no indication that things are improving. The Open Government Partnership could well help in this regard but to do so it needs to be more inclusive in its approach to civil society.

0
Vote up!

Cameron Shorter

In response to this call for comment, a number of us involved with open source, open standards, open data, and more have drafted an eight page open letter describing the challenges government faces around "collaboration", along with our vision for how to address these. It starts:
"Despite open government’s best intentions to prioritise collaboration, government bodies consistently duplicate each other’s effort. Collaborating as effectively as open communities is much harder than you’d think. ..."
Read the rest here: http://cameronshorter.blogspot.com.au/2018/03/what-could-open-government...

0
Vote up!

Open Government...

The comments below have been posted on behalf of Dr Ken Coghill:

Re: "the importance of education in civics and information literacy so that people can understand how government decision-making works"

Learning by doing is at least as important as school years civics education (important as that is). 

Learning by doing occurs in the course of civic engagement, dealing with issues and problems arising in one's community outside &/or beyond school.

0
Vote up!

Cameron Shorter

Hi, is anyone from Open Government reading this forum? Could you please reply to confirm that our response has been heard. The response that I've put in collates input from over 20 people and has been extensively thought through. I'd suggest that it would be worth while starting a conversation with us at some point about the topics raised. This could start with a simple email noting that the response has been heard, and mentioning your timeframe for working through the topics, and asking how we can help.
Warm regards, Cameron Shorter

0
Vote up!

Post A Response


Comment

 

Log in or Register to add your comment.